ABC Of Jainism ► 01 Ṇamokāra Mantra

Posted: 24.10.2010

LESSON 1

Ṇamokāra Mantra


ṆAMO ARIHANTĀṆAM,
ṆAMO SIDDHĀṆAM,
ṆAMO ĀVARIVĀṆAM,
ṆAMO UVAJJHĀYĀṆAM,
ṆAMO LOE SAVVA SĀHŪṆAM.

 

 

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Daughter

Ma, we recite the Ṇamokāra-Mantra daily; what is Namokāra-Mantra? Please tell us.

Mother

ṆAMOKĀRA-MANTRA is a prayer of  virtues. We Jainas worship Arihanta, Siddha, Ācārya, Upādhyaya and Sadhu, by reciting Ṇamokāra-Mantra. They are known as " PAÑCA ­PARAMESTHI". Actually Ṇamokāra-Mantra is a reverence ­Mantra.

Daughter

Ma, what do we gain by reverence to Pañca-Paramesthī?

Mother

Jainas worship good qualities of a person and not only the person. So, this reverence (deep respect) is impersonal. It is focused on their virtues (good qualities). Indeed, it is a reverence of their virtues. It is reverence for their virtues. We wish to instill the virtues of the PAÑCA-PARMESTHĪ in our lives. Ṇamokāra-Mantra reminds us to achieve this goal.

Daughter

Who are Arihantas?

Mother

Arihantas are supreme human beings. They preach the absolute truth. They know every thing about the universe. At the end of their lives, they become pure-souls (Siddhas).

Daughter

Who are Siddhas?

Mother

Siddhas are pure souls without a physical body. They have freed themselves from all kinds of bondage.

Daughter

Ma, why do we pay our reverence first to Arihantas in Ṇamokāra-Mantras?

Mother

Although, Siddhas are spiritually higher than Arihantas, we pray Arihantas first because they preach us the path of Bliss.

Daughter

Who is an Ācārya?

Mother

An Ācāryais the leader of the monks (SADHŪS). He himself strictly practices the teachings of the religion and make other monks to follow such practices. He is a propagator of ethico-spiritual values.

Daughter

Who is an Upādhyaya?

Mother

An Upādhyaya is the reader of holy scriptures. He himself learns and teaches other monks. He is a teacher of ethico­spiritual values.

Daughter

Who is a sādhu?

Mother

A Sādhu is completely possessionless naked monk. He is indifferent to worldly pleasures and passions. He follows the path of spiritual progress. His daily routine consists of study of scriptures and meditation. He is a pious personality.

Daughter

What is the difference amongst Ācāryas, Upādhyayas and Sādhūs?

Mother

Ācāryas, Upādhyayas and Sādhūs are all monks. All of them study and practice the teachings of religion. The basic difference amongst them is that the Ācārya is the head monk of the group of monks. A monk who has highest degree of scriptural knowledge is appointed as an Upādhyaya. A Sadhu is a monk who practices the religion under the guidance of Ācārya.

Dear child, Ṇamokāra Mantra is a unique prayer. Pañca-Parmesthī are the ideals for us to follow. By reciting Ṇamokāra Mantra (9 or 108 times), we gain peace, harmony and purity of thoughts. In Jainism, the Pañca-Parmesthī are represented by the symbol OM (ॐ) or AAAUM. It is an acronym formed from the Sanskrit words Arihanta, Asariri (Siddhas who do not have material bodies), Ācharya, Upādhyaya and Munī (Sādhu).

 

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